Off-season Workouts: Where Are You?

By Alex Shapiro

It is December and most high school baseball programs are kicking off their off-season workouts while some may be well underway. Off-season workouts are critical in determining how prepared a player is for the season as we all know. Workouts may be consist of hitting the weight room, the track, or could include open hitting sessions for players, among several other things that benefit a team and its players. However, off-season workouts are not mandatory. I struggle with the word mandatory in regards to off-season workouts as a coach, as I am sure some of you out there reading this article do the same. We, as coaches, probably scratch our head from time to time wondering where some guys are when they are not showing up and perhaps even why. I get it—some players have jobs, some play other sports, and some do things on their own, which is great, no doubt about that. Some things come up from time to time like doctor’s appointments or tutoring sessions, and some just do not show up at all. But, there are some things players need to know about off-season workouts and why their attendance is in fact mandatory. read more

Mound Management

Written by Alan Jaeger

Mound Management: In Game Strategies for Pitchers and Hitters

Process Oriented: To be consumed by your current action independent of the consequences of your action

The “Mental Game” may be a rather broad topic, but ultimately, it can be broken down into two fundamental categories: “Game Management” and “Mental Practice”.

In a recent Collegiate Baseball article entitled “Mental Practice Plans” (January, 2012), I specifically addressed the importance of implementing Mental Practice on a DAILY basis as part of any player or coach’s Practice Plan.  Though I still feel that Mental Practice (e.g. Relaxation, Visualization, Meditation) is where the rubber hit’s the road for a players Mental Game development, how players strategically “Manage” their mental approach in “Game situations” is also paramount to a players performance between the lines. read more

Writing Your Script

By Chad Rhoades

Going into a new season is the best feeling of a clean slate and the ability to write a new chapter in your career. The focus of this article is help you write your script with pure and positive intentions on every pitch you throw. Too often the ‘writing a new chapter’ becomes a background template that never comes to the surface until the season is over and we glance back over it trying to fix mistakes. Mistakes that we try to fix and get better at in preparation for the next game or next season, never being able to catch up and stay ahead of the curve. read more

Hitting vs. Pitching vs. Hitting

By: Casey Fisk

I don’t imagine that I’m the only coach who talks with both hitters and pitchers. I don’t know all of you, but I’m the only coach I know who intentionally disrespects each group to the other in order to instill honest confidence in each group. When I’m dealing with two-way guys, I give up the goods right away, telling them that I’m spinning the truth to benefit the group I’m talking to at the moment. I’m not really disrespecting anyone; I’m telling the truth about the deficiencies of each group, so you can get better and/or take advantage. read more

Developing a Quality Breaking Ball

BY Matt Schissell (@shizzpeace13)

It’s that time of year again– the end of summer. Kids are going back to school and summer baseball seasons are over except for those lucky enough to play in the Little League World Series. The Little League World Series (LLWS) is fantastic. It promotes the game of baseball to a younger crowd and gives participants some memories they’ll never forget. One of the biggest issues with youth baseball today, including the LLWS, is pitching. It may be an old-school thought process, but 11-13 year old kids should not be spinning off curve balls every third pitch even if it leads to a ridiculous 16 strikeouts. While it may seem harmless at the time to the people who don’t understand baseball, kids’ arms aren’t fully developed. Their bodies aren’t made for that kind of use. This isn’t the player’s fault, and coaches and parents often just don’t know any better. Throwing curveballs and sliders with undeveloped muscles creates bad throwing habits and can lead to injuries later on in a player’s career. At this age the only off-speed pitch that should be thrown is a changeup. Developing a quality fastball with proper mechanics and a good changeup can carry a young pitcher all the way to college, and allow them to dominate younger competition. Instead of focusing on quality off-speed pitches, little leaguers should focus on the intent of their pitches (mainly fastballs), putting their whole body into every pitch, and creating momentum towards the plate. At the end of the day, an undeveloped body is unable to properly execute a curveball without creating bad mechanics, bad habits, or even injury. read more